ATA supports road safety strategy

The ATA backs the release of a road safety strategy aimed at slashing the number of deaths and serious injuries

December 3, 2010

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has commended the release of a national road safety strategy that hopes to slash the number of deaths and serious injuries by 30 percent in the next decade.

The National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020 is aimed at changing the way we think and act about safety as up to 1,500 people die each year and 30,000 get hospitalised due to crashes, costing the nation around $27 billion each year.

ATA CEO Stuart St Clair says the industry welcomes the strategy’s emphasis and believes the best way to deal with accidents is to build systems around drivers.

"The safe system approach recognises that many road accidents are caused by mistakes, not deliberate breaches of the road rules," St Clair says.

"This approach is at the heart of the ATA’s longstanding call for safer roads, safer trucks, safer drivers and safer companies.

"The draft strategy takes a similar but less comprehensive approach with its proposals for safe roads, safe speeds, save vehicles and safe people."

The draft report suggests all road projects should be designed to reduce the risk of crashes and develop safety-driven fleet purchasing policies, encouraging drivers to buy new, safe cars.

It also calls on a national information campaign about safety benefits or appropriate speeds and encourages adoption of Intelligent Speed Adaptation, which would help drivers comply with the speed limit and move towards limiting the speed of novice drivers and repeat offenders.

"The draft strategy includes a number of proposals that reflect the trucking industry’s key safety priorities," St Clair says.

"These include its support for audio-tactile line marking as a cost-effective way of reducing fatigue crashes and its support for effective national chain of responsibility laws. Under chain of responsibility, the industry’s customers can be held to account in their actions, inactions or demands compromise safety."

He also welcomes the proposal to examine options for introducing competency-based licensing for heavy vehicle drivers aged over 25.

"It is an important step toward the ATA’s plan for an enhanced licensing standard, which would reward drivers who undertake enhanced based training," St Clair says.

He is hoping the construction of more truck rest areas will be included in the draft’s final version.

"It will also need to encourage the use of safer trucks with greater capacity and measures to encourage trucking companies to join voluntary accreditation schemes like the ATA’s TruckSafe program."

St Clair says independent statistics show TruckSafe accredited companies are safer than non-accredited ones.

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